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What is the Difference Between Rats and Mice?

What do you think, is this a young rat or an adult mouse?

What do you think, is this a young rat or an adult mouse?

Surprisingly, many people confuse rats and mice as the same animal. To put it simply: no, a baby mouse does not grow up to become a rat; and no, a baby rat is not a mouse. Rats and mice both move incredibly fast, which may attribute to your inability to define which type of rodent you’re dealing with. Size is one of the most common determining factors between rats and mice. Let’s explore more differences between the two. Fun fact: Mice are afraid of rats, too.

Size and Appearance

Rats are inherently larger rodents than mice. An adult rat on average could have a body as long as 9-11 inches with a tail extending that length by 7-9 more inches, while an adult mouse only averages about 3-4 inches in body length with another 3-4 inch tail extension. However, a young rat could easily be mistaken for an adult mouse.

When it comes to appearance, a mouse head is smaller, more triangular, pointed, and and less blunt than a rat head. A young rat will have feet that seem larger than its body, whereas an adult mouse has small feet that are more proportionate to its body. A mouse’s tail is usually longer than it’s total body length, whereas a rat’s tail is shorter.

Rats and Mice Behavioral Differences

As we mentioned, mice are afraid of rats. Why, you ask? Because rats are known to kill and eat mice, not the other way around. Mice are curious, tiny rodents that will feed on nearly any food source. Rats, unlike mice, are incredibly cautious and won’t investigate all food sources as willingly – although they will eat anything if they have to.

Because of this, removing rats can be more difficult than catching and removing mice. Mice will knowingly wonder into a set trap in any location where there is a food source, however rats are more likely to avoid  something foreign in their routinely traveled path. Here are some other differences between rats and mice:

  • Mice prefer to eat cereal grains and plants, while rats prefer to eat fresh grains and meat
  • Mice usually live to be about 9 to 12 months, whereas rats commonly survive 1-1.5 years
  • Mice rarely burrow, whereas rats are known to dig under buildings and along fences and remain within 300 feet of their nest or burrow
  • Mice can gain entry to your home through holes and gaps as small as ¼ inch, whereas rats need an opening with a ½ inch diameter – both very small measurements

In Need of Humane Rat or Mice Removal? We Can Help!

Shumaker’s Animal Control is a twenty-five-year veteran of the animal and pest control profession. We are the Kingsville rodent control experts and can help you return your house to a cozy pest-free home. If you have any questions about mouse removal or other rodent control, contact Shumaker’s Animal Control by calling (443) 854-8072 or click here today!

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P.S.: That’s a rat in the photo, not an adult mouse.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 13th, 2016 at 9:42 pm . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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